How to write a winning personal statement

No matter which Victorian dietetics course you are applying for next year, all require some sort of written statement on why you want to be a Dietitian and why your chosen uni should accept you into their course.

A personal (written) statement is essentially asking:

  1. Why are you suited to be a Dietitian?
  2. What skills or experience do you have that prove you have a passion for the profession?
  3. Why should we choose you over another candidate?

Let’s break each point down so you get a sense of what you need to include in your personal statement.

  1. Why are you suited to be a Dietitian?

Why are you interested in becoming a Dietitian? What is it about dietetics that makes you want to choose it over all the other professions? This is a hard one if you’ve never really thought about it before.

In answering this question, you need to show your maturity and genuine desire to help people through dietary change. A mature response will acknowledge that health means something different to everyone and we are all in different places when it comes to our health/eating.

In contrast, a less mature would go something like “It’s so obvious that vegetables/fad diet X are/is amazing and I’m on a mission to make everyone realize this and eat the way I do!!”

Another example

Instead of saying something like: “I liked the nutrition electives I took in my undergrad course”

Say: “I am becoming aware of the power that dietary change can have and am interested in working a field that can have such an impact on an individual’s quality of life”

  1. What skills or experience to you have that proves you have a passion for the profession?

This is where you can put all of your related experience in. Paid and unpaid work counts so try to put in a few different examples.

Importantly, you need to show how your skills and experience will relate to the course you are applying for and how it might help shape or form your future dietetic practice.

Example

Instead of saying something like: “I volunteered at a local garden program in a primary school and I learnt to teach children about different fruits and vegetables”

Say: “I acknowledge that I have a high level nutrition knowledge and I have used this knowledge to teach children about different fruits and vegetables as part of a garden program at [place]. Teaching children about fruits and vegetables has been a valuable and rewarding experience and has allowed me to develop [skill] which will be useful in my future job as a dietitian as it will [connect skill to dietetics].

  1. Why should we choose you over another candidate?

This last question is really the crux of your application. I can assure you that almost everyone applying for dietetics will think they are the most deserving of a spot in the course. Each Victorian university that offers dietetics gets many more applicants than they have places for so its important that you make your application stand out.

You are unique and no one will have had an experience quite like yours, so capitalize on this!

Example

Instead of saying something like: “I really want to be a dietitian, it has been my dream for the last 10 years ”

Say: “throughout this application I have demonstrated my maturity and keen sense of nutrition knowledge and application. [Example of experience] has ignited my passion for dietetics and I believe I am ready to take on the challenge of becoming a dietitian.”

Putting it all together

Even though I have broken down a personal statement into three basic questions, the format you choose will depend on the course you are applying for and what your natural writing style is like.

Some applications lend themselves to an essay type response and others have more of a rigid questions and answer format.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is what teachers give students before exams: answer the question in front of you

Don’t answer the question you want to answer. The question you have prepared a response to and the actual question being asked can be two very different things.

Once you have finished writing your application, I would highly recommend getting a friend or family member to look over it. Even better, get someone in the nutrition field to have a look. I did this and I can tell you it was invaluable in getting my application ready to submit.

Resources

Here are some links to some online resources that really helped me put my application together:

An overview of personal statements:

http://web.jhu.edu/prepro/health/Applicants/personal.statement.html

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/01/

Examples of personal statements for dietetics:

https://www.studential.com/personal-statement-examples/dietetics-personal-statement-0

http://www.getting-in.com/personal_statement/diatetics-personal-statement/

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Personal_Statement:Dietetics_2

Good luck with your applications! Maybe I’ll be seeing some of you next year 😉

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